On West Main Street in Carbondale sits a large, white home with a black wrought-iron fence and an old-fashioned light post out front. A sculpted topiary hedge lines the walkway to the front door where two fluffy trees greet visitors on either side of the front steps and ornate outdoor lamps adorn each side of the door. Home to Budslick Counseling and Anthology Art & Design Gallery, the Italianate style home that was built in the first decade of the twentieth century also has traces of American Craftsman style architecture that were added some time later, making it a gorgeous, albeit unique, mix of the two styles. Tall, narrow arched windows adorning the second story of the home and its boxy shape make the building a prime Italianate example, while the horizontal row of windows on the now enclosed front porch and the tapered brackets on the exterior are both telltale Craftsman details.
Dale Budslick, who owns the home, is a self-proclaimed lover of old houses. She has always enjoyed walking down the street to admire homes and is interested in where people choose to live. Budslick has many pleasant memories of the home dating as far back as her childhood. A close friend of her sister’s lived across the street from the property during high school. At that time the home was owned by Dr. Taylor, one of the founding physicians of Memorial Hospital in Carbondale. Dr. Taylor’s son, Denny, was also a friend of Budslick and her sister and she remembers him fondly as a friendly upperclassmen. Later, the home was used by Dr. John Peterson, an ophthalmologist who Budslick visited with her infant daughter. After a series of different owners utilized the building, including an insurance company and a realtor, the home sat unoccupied for more than six years. Budslick never understood why the beautiful building remained on the market for so long. In October of 2012, she decided to snatch the property up for herself and shortly thereafter moved her business into the home, a decision she still relishes to this day.
“I like the good feeling I get each morning when I come to work in such a, now more than ever, pleasant environment. It, along with my enjoyment of the type of work I do, allows me to be happy to arrive at work each day and to feel a sense of comfort while I am there,” remarked Budslick.
Several important, large projects have been completed to update and maintain the property since it was purchased by Budslick. Lonnie Sadler has been Budslick’s go-to construction person for most of the upgrades, which began by uncovering two large windows and raising the ceiling in the front garden porch. In 2013 a new metal roof was installed and in 2015, the red carpet that was twenty or so years old, was replaced with handsome wood flooring.
The renovations performed to the structure and the design of the interior have all been overseen by Mark Davis, owner of Anthology Art & Design Gallery housed on the second floor of the building. Davis, who can be credited for the home’s alluring design, has been a dynamic force in the building’s overhaul.
“Throughout, he has been entirely responsible for the wonderful look and feel of the building through his skills with color, placement and selection of materials,” said Budslick.
Walking from room to room, Davis’ vast skill set quickly becomes apparent. His prowess as a designer emerges from front to back and top to bottom in the home. The entryway, which is an enclosed front porch likely original to the home, houses a number of pretty potted plants and a decorative bench. The southern facing spandrel windows are outfitted with louvered shutters, as are most of the windows in the home, adding to the turn of the century feel of the structure. Davis still has plans to replace the walls and smaller windows with floor to ceiling glass in this front room, visually opening the home and restoring it to something more closely resembling its original appearance.
Walking into the main room of the house, a cushy waiting room sits on the left, with thoughtfully placed framed works of art and antique stained glass panels in the windows. Two individual offices, two restrooms, and the hallway on the first floor are brilliantly and tastefully designed. Black paint with stenciled, gold laurel wreaths and a raised, beveled ceiling makes the front powder room look chic and artful. The second powder room has coffered walls and alluring black and Carrara marble tile in a basket weave pattern, almost too pretty to set foot on. Although you certainly have the comforting feeling of being in an older, historic home, the decor, furniture, placement and ornate details of each room make it dazzling and graceful without being pretentious.
Budslick’s decision to contact Davis has led to a harmonious working relationship as office mates, and more importantly, an amalgamation of Budslick’s love of historical homes and Davis’ mastery of architecture, art and design. Shortly after she purchased the home and moved her business into the first floor, she contacted her friend, Davis, to use the space on the second floor.
“Dale called me out of the blue one day and said, ‘I own this building now. Here’s the key, go take a look.’ Dale loves architecture, she’s from Carbondale, she knows a lot of these old houses,” shared Davis.
A stairway in the middle of the home leads upstairs to Anthology Art & Design Gallery. Floor cloths, painted and installed by Davis, line the stairs and the hallway of the second floor gallery. Their geometric shapes and neutral colors are a testament to the designer’s use of simple objects to transform any space. A sitting area at the top of the stairs holds a glass table with four crisp, white chairs. The light coming in through the tall, narrow windows makes for a peaceful space, while the artwork of Joan Skiver-Levy brightens the area with lively colored still life portraits of vibrant fruits and vegetables.
In the front room to the east, two very large paintings and a few small drawings by Robert Paulson are on display. The darkly hued, intense works of art by the Emeritus Professor and former Director of Art & Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, look at home in the corner room of the building, and give the room a dramatic feel. In the third room of the gallery are more paintings from Skiver-Levy, along with a selection of antiques collected by Davis and his wife. Architectural pieces like old school lightning rods, wooden brackets and corbels accentuate the clean-cut ambiance. Delightfully fragrant boutique lotions, bath products and lavender bouquets for sale at the gallery are featured on shelves and in baskets, appealing to senses of smell and touch.
“It’s important to me as a designer to display the art in the context of a home. As a designer, over the years, I have seen a great need for artwork in people’s homes. Art galleries can be intimidating. Not just the price tag but the atmosphere. Although they’re very beautiful they can feel hollow,” shared Davis.
Davis has a true knack for making Anthology feel like a space you would want to call your own. The stylish design and placement of art in the setting of a one hundred year old home is a relaxing and welcoming environment for each and every visitor.
Davis, who grew up in Eldorado and now lives in Carbondale with his wife, Renee, began his notable career after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from SIUC and attending the architecture graduate program at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Davis has enjoyed many years as a successful designer. At Davis & Vines Design, an interior and architectural design company he co-owned with Marsha Vines, the pair had a long list of clients in Southern Illinois and St. Louis. Before opening Anthology, Davis operated as Mark Davis Residential Design. The residential and interior designer currently provides consultation and assessment, design layouts, drafting, renderings, design portfolios and visual coordination, also known as the art of placement. Davis had an awakening early in his career after stumbling upon Carol Talbott and her use of visual coordinations on a 1992 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The discovery of her formula for the power of placement in a home made Davis realize that this approach appealed to his penchant for architecture and order, leading to the many beautiful spaces he has created over the subsequent two and a half decades.
“I was already headed that direction, towards visual coordinations, as I think a lot of other designers were. A lot of us knew the power of placement,” said Davis.
After continuing to see Talbott’s message on the many television shows she was featured on, Davis contacted the designer, took her seminar in Atlanta, and eventually became very good friends with both Talbott and her son, Glen.
"Carol’s work I noticed right away was based on the architecture of the room. After I met her I started questioning the placement of the furniture which often times I think I did anyway. I was really drawn to her,” remarked Davis.
One of the first designers to bring visual coordinations to the Midwest, Davis’ work became very popular in the St. Louis area. He had an article featured in The Post Dispatch and appeared on several television spots on Channel 5. Now, at Anthology Art & Design Gallery, he uses his multifarious list of talents to create alluring residential designs for his clients, as well as continuing to improve the property owned by Budslick.
“I truly believe in the power of the arts to enrich and enhance our daily lives, whether or not we're aware of it. Good architecture tells us where to go. Good furniture placement tells us what to do when we get there,” said Davis.
The Carbondale home, occupied by Budslick and Davis, is not dissimilar to the many historic homes in Carbondale, on West Main Street and the surrounding Arbor District. However, the unique upgrades, design, and artful details introduced by Davis make the property a unique locale for artist’s to display their work and for Budslick’s business to welcome its visitors.